USVI/DETROIT CHAPTER 9????
It is interesting comparing Detroit with the USVI and their financial debacle. The Governor of Michigan has touted a filing would clean up decades of graf and mismanagement! Sound familiar?
If the governing bodies of the USVI would take the steps to clean the decks, why not put it in the hands of a bankruptcy judge? If not, is there a action the voters/creditors could take to force a filing? Can a US territory file Chapter 9? I would think a federal judge could order the sale of both hospitals and WAPA, forcing the action out of the hands of dissidents in the legislature. Restructured debt would give these entities more value. Another benefit would be terminating onerous contracts with unions in the territory. No one has more authority on this earth than a federal bankruptcy judge.
I am sure I am not understanding the "big picture" but it seems if Detroit and others are going this way, then a 9 might work for the USVI?
Let me start by saying as a resident of Detroit for nearly 40 yrs., I am embarrassed that my city where I called home for 40 of my 52 years alive is going through this. I have visited and would love to make St.Thomas our home someday but I'm afraid it will be later than sooner. The problems with Detroit started decades ago with a corrupt mayor and the rest of the city counsel following along. As of late, the young vibrant mayor Kwame Kilpatrick let greed get the better of him from stealing and taking bribes to foolish spending of taxpayers money to the tune of millions of dollars that can't be accounted for. Enough about Detroit. Let's talk about the USVI. When we were in St.Thomas, my wife and me rented a car so we could go about our day without having to wait for a taxi. We drove around a lot. We took back roads and side streets and went places other tourists may have been afraid to go. We felt very comfortable driving around ( other than getting lost because of the street names ) and did stop to ask directions and did get help. I think the big difference between Detroit and St.Thomas is the cost to live in Detroit is pretty cheap as far as utilities go. From what I read, WAPA has everyone at their mercy and power and water are priced through the roof. We did go grocery shopping while we were there and did notice some foods and other items to be priced pretty high. Now for the employment side of the coin, you may be able to find a job in St.Thomas, but it will be an average paying job that will make it difficult to make ends meet. As for the chapter 9 here, it is going to screw over a lot of city employees pensions that are going to be wiped out if this all goes as planned, and the employees are ready to burn this place down. Detroit was a great city with a lot to offer, but over the last 20 years, after the big 3 automakers moved out and other businesses followed, the amount of brick and mortar stores have gone WAY down. The city once had over 2 million people in it, now it has just over 700,000. Give me a choice, and I could make it happen in St.Thomas but not here in the D.
Steve: The corruption, the unfunded liabilities, the unions, the pension plans are all problems in the USVI, too.
Well I'm saddened to hear that but not the least bit surprised. I guess the corruption happens everywhere and it starts with greed. I read the Virgin Island Daily news on a regular basis and from what I gather, the people in power there act like they are the only ones that matter and make decisions to benefit just themselves. I'm not sure this chapter 9 move is the be all answer to Detroits problem. Chapter 9 does NOT create jobs, it won't lure businesses here. Our states tax rates for small businesses are through the roof. I would hope that the Virgin Islands problems are not as bad as Detroits but I know a lot of your business depends on tourism.
I am not sure that I would agree with the statement that corruption starts with greed. All creatures have self-preservation at their core. We tend to care for ourselves and our own before the other as a matter of basic biology. The reason we have the rule of law is to help us with balancing our needs and those of others. When the rule of law goes, civil society goes with it.
Didn't Washington, DC file bankruptsy several years ago? What happened to that situation anyone know? I have had that tought about the VI and 9 several tiimes.